Why Your Trade Ads Don’t Work

It has nothing to do with the magazine or Facebook or Google, or any other form of media.

It has to do with what you have to say and how you say it.

Here are a few samples of headlines from recent coffee industry ads: “The Finest Coffee On Earth”, ”Absolutely Brilliant Coffee Brewers”, or my favorite “Create The Ultimate Vanilla Latte”.

Why these headlines don’t work is because they are focused on the coffee company’s ego not how the product helps the customer, important in B2B marketing, and they do not differentiate themselves from their competitors…all coffee roasters say they make the finest coffee on earth.

What’s missing is a brutally honest USP: Unique Selling Proposition. A USP comes out of a detailed marketing plan. If you have a detailed marketing plan that reflects your passion about your brand and knows how it is different from any competitor, your marketing will reflect that passion. And it’s the job of an astute marketing person to turn that passion into an ad campaign that works.

A unique selling proposition (USP) refers to the unique benefit exhibited by a company, service, product or brand that enables it to stand out from competitors. The unique selling proposition must be a feature that highlights product benefits that are meaningful to consumers.

The USP contains the one feature of the product that most stands out as different from the competition, and is usually a feature that conveys unique benefits to the consumer. Communicating the USP is a key element of branding.

Unfortunately the USP is widely misunderstood, even by those involved in marketing, graphics, and PR.

There are basic rules for a successful USP: Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer/buyer—not just words, product “puffery”, or show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: “Buy this product, for this specific benefit.”

The proposition must be one the competition cannot or does not offer. It must be unique—either in the brand or a claim the rest of that particular advertising area does not make.

The proposition must be strong enough to move the masses, i.e., attract new customers as well as potential customers.

SOS is a specialty coffee industry business development marketing consulting firm.